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Bugatti enthusiasts embark on epic journey

100 years of the Type 35 celebrated

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Bugatti’s most iconic car, the Type 35, Club Bugatti France organized a tour from Molsheim – the hometown of the brand – to Lyon where the legendary race car made its debut at the 1924 Grand Prix de Lyon. To kick off the journey, Bugatti invited the participants of the tour to its premises in Molsheim, where in 1909 Bugatti’s story began. Enthusiasts from around the globe converged upon the historic French town – the place founder Ettore Bugatti decided to settle in – for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Type 35 background

Unveiled in 1924, the lightweight, powerful and brilliantly balanced Bugatti Type 35 achieved an incredible feat: securing more than 2,500 racing victories across its relatively short racing career, a remarkable accomplishment that today stands alone in the annals of racing history. A marvel of cutting-edge design and pioneering engineering, the Type 35 embodied Bugatti’s spirit of high-performance, exquisite craftsmanship and trailblazing innovation and still inspires Bugatti’s modern-day creations.

Five Type 35 models were entered into the 1924 Grand Prix at Lyon, heralding a new era in motorsports and setting a trend in which speed, agility, and elegance converged perfectly. Organized by the Automobile Club de France over 35 laps of a 23.1km road circuit, the 1924 Grand Prix at Lyon will forever be entwined with Bugatti’s storied motorsports heritage. Ettore kept a sixth Type 35 – the original prototype – in reserve. To pay homage to such a momentous anniversary, Bugatti Club France curated a special event that started in Molsheim on May 13 and concluded in Lyon on May 20.

Guests arrive

Christophe Pichon, President of Bugatti Automobiles, welcomed the guests and their exquisite 49 classic cars – including 23 examples of Type 35, among them one of the five cars that raced in 1924, and 12 additional Bugatti Grand Prix historic models comprising several Type 37 and 51 – around the Château Saint-Jean. On display at the hallowed grounds for Bugatti Club France guests to visually enjoy as they arrived on the morning of the first day of the tour were six elegant models of the Baby II Type 35 Centenary Edition, a celebratory creation that beautifully commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Bugatti Type 35’s debut at the Grand Prix de Lyon in 1924

Having taken in the wonderment of the Château Saint Jean and enjoyed a fine breakfast, ensuring they were energized, inspired and set for the road ahead, the guests embarked on a 1000 km adventure to Lyon, retracing the exact journey that Bugatti Type 35s used to make from factory to track in period.

The largest public Bugatti collection

At Mulhouse, the guests were allowed to explore the impressive Musée National de l’Automobile, a treasure trove of automotive history where one of the world’s largest collections of Bugatti masterpieces resides. Here, more than 600 revolutionary and emblematic automotive creations call home, including more than 100 of Bugatti’s most acclaimed models – each one painstakingly acquired by the Schlumpf brothers over a period of three decades. From the Bugatti Type 28 to the Bugatti Royale conceived in 1930, each car is hand-picked for its historic significance and breathtaking proportions.

The sereneness of Lac de Saint-Point

After being enchanted by the Type 28 and Royale masterpieces at Musée National de l’Automobile, the tour headed to Malbuisson to enjoy the beauty of Saint-Point lake. A gorgeously calming stillness flowing from the open water set the tone for the evening.

An emotional week

Full of symbolism for all its protagonists, this journey is traced from the Vosges mountains to the plateau of Lyon, at the mercy of the elements. From the sun warming the leathers of the jackets to the freezing rain challenging the crews, each participant emerged from this experience like a victorious gladiator in the arena. It is hard to imagine driving such machines in the pouring rain, with only the soundtrack of the water slapping against the bodywork and the traditional goggles allowing the crews to see only a few dozen meters ahead. However, as the participants were able to testify, the experience left them feeling more alive than ever, having conquered the elements at the wheel of their racing cars.

Retracing the legend of Lyon

On the third and final leg, the curated journey took the guests into the gateway of Lyon, where the tour joined the celebrations of the 1924 Grand Prix de Lyon gathering 120 pre-war cars and 50 Bugatti automobiles, organized by the Amis du Vieux Brignais association in collaboration with the 3A- Amateurs d’Automobiles Anciennes Club and the Association Forezienne d’Amateurs d’Automobiles de Collection. A fine-dining gala evening marked the end of this exceptional week, filled with emotion and passion.

Mountain inspiration

The tour ended with a captivating drive into the Monts du Lyonnais, giving guests one final chance to make the most of their iconic racing cars and the curated driving experience. With outstanding French natural beauty nestled into the backdrop, the breathtaking mountain passes and dynamic roads were a fitting end to a magical journey that started at the home of Bugatti in Molsheim.

“We are delighted to have brought together Bugatti enthusiasts from across the globe, traveling from nine countries, to celebrate the historic milestone of the Bugatti Type 35” said Olivier Bohin, organizer of the tour and member of the Club Bugatti France.

“For us to have been able to commence our specially curated event in Molsheim, where Ettore’s adventure first started, was simply the perfect way to start the experience. Connecting the past to the present is a value that is intrinsically important for both the Bugatti brand and Club Bugatti France, allowing for our guests to feel the connection and experience emotional moments that will last a lifetime.”

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